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GEORGE TOWN – The corruption trial of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon set for March 27 has been postponed until their appeal to challenge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act is settled.
High Court Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail allowed the application by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who represented Lim, to stay the trial pending the outcome of their appeal in the Court of Appeal, and set April 25 for case management.
On March 7, the court rejected a petition by Lim and Phang to declare Section 62 of the MACC Act 2009 as unconstitutional and void.
Lim and Phang filed the application in January this year. Section 62 states that once the prosecution submits documents pursuant to Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused shall, before the trial begins, submit the following documents: (a) a statement of defence and (b) a copy of any document that can be
presented as part of the evidence for the defence.
On June 30 last year, Lim pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption in the conversion of land from agriculture to housing, and the purchase of a plot of land and bungalow at below market value.
For the first charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant, namely the Penang Chief Minister, of using his position to obtain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng, by approving the conversion of agricultural land to residential in the southwest of Penang for a company, Magnificient Emblem Sdn Bhd.
Lim, 56, allegedly committed the offence while chairing a meeting of the Penang State Planning Committee in the Operations Room, 8th Floor, Komtar tower on July 18, 2014.
He was charged under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 which provides for a jail-term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of graft involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.
On the second charge, Lim was accused as a civil servant of obtaining for himself a plot of land and a bungalow at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, at a price which he knew did not commensurate with its value from Phang, at RM2.8 million, when its market value at the time was RM4.27 million.
He allegedly committed the offence at No 25, Jalan Pinhorn, George Town, on July 28, 2015 in accordance with Section 165 of the Penal Code which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both upon conviction.
Phang, as the former owner of the bungalow, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring with Lim for him to obtain the bungalow at below market price at the same place and date.
The businesswoman was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code read together with Section 165, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or fine, or both, if convicted.
Outside the court, Gobind told reporters he had filed a notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal against the court’s decision to reject his client’s petition.
“Should the Court of Appeal allow the appeal, it will affect any defence during the trial. In this situation, it’s better to have the Court of Appeal hear and decide on the issue before this (corruption) case takes place,” he said.
Meanwhile, DPP Datuk Masri Mohd Daud said the prosecution agreed with the counsel’s application to suspend the corrption trial after considering all the factors.
He said they were also in the process of requesting the Court of Appeal to expedite the hearing. – BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR – The application filed by Lim Guan Eng to set aside the leave obtained by the Attorney-General (AG) to initiate committal proceeding against him will he heard on July 14.
High Court Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah set the date in chambers in the presence of senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the AG, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, and lawyer Gobind Singh Deo representing Lim.
Speaking to reporters, Gobind said the application was initially scheduled to be heard today, but was postponed as they needed more time to change and scrutinise the affidavits pertaining to the application.
The AG as the plaintiff had filed an ex-parte originating summons regarding the matter on Aug 18 and had named Lim as the defendant.
In it, the AG had sought leave for the committal proceeding to have Lim jailed for contempt-of-court for allegedly issuing statements in the print and/or social media which were detrimental to the administration of justice, lead to erosion of the people’s confidence in the judicial system and questioned the dignity and integrity of the courts.
The AG is also seeking costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.
He said the action was taken to ensure the sanctity and integrity of the judiciary and the justice system in the country was always protected and not criticised, shamed and insulted according to one’s whims and fancies.
He added that contempt-of-court should be frowned upon failing which doubts could arise on the administration of justice in the country.
According to the AG, the statements made by Lim at a press conference in George Town, Penang, that the corruption charges against the Bagan MP were a conspiracy and that he (Lim) would be jailed, could be clearly interpreted as the courts were also being roped in on “trumped up corruption charges”.
Last Sept 21, the court granted leave for the AG to initiate committal proceeding against Lim.
On June 30, 2016, Lim pleaded not guilty at the Penang High Court to corruption charges relating to the changing of status of a parcel of land from agricultural zone to housing development zone and purchase of a bungalow at below market price. – BERNAMA
PETALING JAYA: The unexpected resignation of four Malacca DAP elected representatives has given Barisan Nasional a gift ahead of the forthcoming general election, said Lim Guan Eng.
The DAP secretary-general added that the four could not accept their rejection by party members during the 2015 state party convention.
He said that any member who loved the party would have communicated policy differences with the leadership but none of them did so.
“They appear confused as to what policy differences they are unhappy about. They also seem confused about the rationale for resigning, which appears more to be an act of personal retaliation for their defeat in the Malacca state party elections and subsequent suspension for one year,” Lim said in a statement on Monday.
On Sunday, Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him and three state assemblymen dropped a bombshell by quitting the party.
Sim said the four had quit because the DAP now has no proper direction and had deviated from its core objectives.
The other three who quit are former Malacca DAP chairman Goh Leong San (DAP-Duyong), Lim Jak Wong (DAP-Bachang) and Chin Choon Seong (DAP-Kesidang).
Lim, who is the Penang Chief Minister claimed that he was mistaken to trust Sim and his faction leaders despite their differences with the DAP Central Executive Committee(CEC).
“I am saddened to hear Sim saying that he leaves the party he joined for nearly 35 years without any heartache,” said Lim who added that their resignations were unexpected.
Lim said the party did not change but that Sim and his faction changed after their defeat.
He claimed that they focused their attacks on the party rather than on Barisan Nasional’s corruption scandals or the excesses of the Malacca Chief Minister.
“Instead of working to win back the confidence of Malacca DAP members, they turned against DAP for spurning them, leading to a one year suspension by the party,” he said.
He added that DAP members and leaders must pick themselves up from their betrayal, saying that no individual was bigger than the party.
Lim said the he and several executive leaders of the party would hold a meeting with Malacca DAP leaders on Tuesday.
GEORGE TOWN – “The party has not changed but instead, remained the same.
“However, Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him and his faction have changed after their defeat.”
In saying this, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the four elected representatives were focusing their attacks on the party rather than on corruption scandals and excesses in the state after their defeat in the 2015 state party elections.
“Instead of working to win back the confidence of DAP Melaka members, they have turned against the DAP for allegedly spurning them, leading to a one-year suspension by the party,” he said in a statement here today.
Besides Sim, the other assemblymen who quit DAP are Lim Jak Wong (Bachang), Goh Leong San (Duyong) and Chin Choon Seong (Kesidang).
Lim admitted his mistake in trusting that Sim and his faction leaders would remain loyal to DAP and the party’s campaign to save Malaysia despite their differences with the DAP Central Executive Committee.
“I am saddened to hear Sim say he left the party without heartache despite having been a member for nearly 35 years,” he said.
Lim said DAP could have taken disciplinary action against Sim when he stood as independent candidate in the 2013 General Election against a DAP candidate for the Kota Laksamana seat.
“However, the party believed he was misguided and still loyal to the DAP and the people.”
Describing the resignation of the four as unexpected, he said none of them had conveyed to him, the party’s acting national chairman Tan Kok Wai or national organising secretary Anthony Loke on the purported policy differences.
“They appear confused as to what policy differences they are unhappy about. They also seem confused on the rationale for resigning, which appears more to be an act of personal retaliation over their defeat in the Melaka state party elections and subsequent suspension for one year,” he added.
Come Tuesday, Lim said he would go to Melaka to hold a meeting at 8pm with Melaka DAP leaders and members. – BERNAMA
BAGAN DATUK – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should take proactive steps to reduce the number of fatal road accidents and not politicise the installation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras on the island.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the government’s decision to install the AES cameras was to educate road users to be careful and always alert when driving.
“He should not bring up the issue and politicise it. He should be concerned about how to help reduce road accidents, regardless of our political differences,” he told the media after the launch of the official WeChat application account ‘My Perak’ in Hutan Melintang near here today.
He was commenting on Lim’s recent statement that no AES cameras would be allowed to be installed in Penang.
According to Liow, the cameras would only be installed upon the request of the local authorities.
“If the local authorities and agencies involved do not request, then we will not install the AES cameras,” he said.
In a separate development, Liow said the Transport Ministry was prepared to build a pedestrian walkway at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (LTSAS) in Ipoh.
He said he would work with the state government to resolve the problem faced by airport users whenever it rained, particularly passengers going to the aircrafts.
“I have visited LTSAS and see two solutions – one is using bus service to take the passengers from the departure hall to the aircraft.
“However, there is a problem with using the buses as there is very limited space in the airport,” he said.
Liow added that the ministry was looking at the second option of providing a pedestrian walkway from the departure hall to the aircrafts.
“The ministry is prepared to build a pedestrian walkway and I think Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will also not have a problem with this.
“We will continue discussing this with the state government and they can forward a request to the ministry,” he said. – BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN – The High Court here today ordered the New Straits Times Press(M) Bhd (NSTP) to pay RM300,000 damages to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for defamation.
Justice Datuk Rosilah Yop made the decision after allowing Lim’s lawsuit against NSTP, the first defendant in regard to an article published by Berita Harian on the settlement of his defamation suit against Bagan UMNO chief Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein.
The court also ordered NSTP to pay RM35,000 cost and interest of five per cent on the judgement to the plaintiff.
In March 2016, Lim sued NSTP for publishing an article allegedly defamatory to him in its newspaper, ‘Berita Harian’ on Aug 20, 2015 about his withdrawal the day before, of a lawsuit against the state UMNO Youth chief.
In his statement of claim, he said the defendant had the legal, social and moral obligation to practise responsible journalism.
In her judgement, Rosilah held that the article published by Berita Harian was defamatory to the plaintiff.
“The plaintiff succeeded in establishing his case on the balance of probabilities against the defendant,” she held.
She said the rectification made by NSTP after the publication of the article was also not satisfactory to the plaintiff.
Lim was represented by counsel Simon Murali while NSTP’s lawyer was Leong Wai Hong.
Meanwhile, Leong told reporters when met that he was awaiting instructions from his client as to whether to file an appeal or not. – BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang High Court has ordered the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) to pay RM300,000 in damages to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng over a defamatory article published in Berita Harian on Aug 20, 2015.
Justice Datuk Rosilah Yop also imposed interest at 5% per annum from the date of judgment until full payment of the award.
She further ordered NSTP to pay RM35,000 in costs.
In delivering her judgement, she said that the article reported was distorted, unfair and inaccurate of the judicial proceeding.
Rosilah said that the reporter was aware of the consent judgement between Lim and the former Penang Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin.
She added that qualified privileged did not apply because the report about the judicial proceeding was not fair and nor accurate of.
She also said that the erratum published by the Malay daily was wholly unsatisfactory and malice could also be inferred based on the evidence.
Lim was represented by counsel K. Simon Murali while NSTP was represented by counsel Leong Wai Hong.
In his statement of claim, Lim said the article printed by NSTP-owned Berita Harian stated that he had unconditionally retracted a defamation suit he filed against former Bagan Umno chief Datuk Dr Shaik Hussein Mydin, giving the connotation that he did not have the courage to pursue the case.
He said he discontinued the suit because of Dr Shaik Hussein’s unconditional retraction of his defamatory statement.
In its defence, NSTP stated that the article was published based on an honest and reasonable belief of the truth without any malice, and that an erratum was published on Dec 18, 2015.
It was reported on Aug 20, 2015, that Lim had filed the suit after Dr Shaik Hussein told a news portal journalist on Oct 5, 2012, that Lim had illegally profited from the sale of a plot of land.
Dr Shaik Hussein unconditionally retracted his statements against Lim at the High Court on Aug 19, 2015.
He also apologised to Lim in the presence of Penang High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan.
Lim Guan Eng
GEORGE TOWN – The Penang Government will reward Mohd Faiz Subri after he kicked his way to international stardom by winning the coveted 2016 International Football Federation (FIFA) Puskas Award.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said discussions would be held first to decide on the reward in appreciation of the midfielder’s feat which brought glory to the state and nation.
“His achievement is unique because he is the first Malaysian to stand on stage (in football) witnessed by the whole world.
“I wish to stress that Mohd Faiz’ success was due to his hard work, dedication and discipline as a football player, and not just luck,” he told a media conference here today.
Lim hoped Mohd Faiz’ success could serve as a shot in the arm and an example to the young generation to work hard to achieve success in whatever field.
Mohd Faiz was selected among three finalists at the prestigious award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland yesterday.
The goal, which was regarded as defying the laws of physics, was executed by the Ayer Hitam, Kedah-born Mohd Faiz, when helping the Penang squad beat Pahang 4-1 at the Super League action in Bandaraya Stadium, Penang on Feb 16 last year.
Two other candidates for the award were Jonath Marlone Azevedo da Silva of Brazil and woman player, Danisuka Rodriguez of Venezuela. – BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has once again been urged to go on leave after the High Court here set the dates of his and that of businesswoman Phang Li Koon’s corruption trial, beginning in March, next year.
State MCA Youth deputy chief, Ang Chor Keong said Lim should do so to ensure uninterrupted state administration and in the interest of the people of Penang.
“Before this, perhaps he (Lim) did not have to take leave, but now the court has set the hearing dates, so in the interest and wishes of the people, he needs to take temporary leave.
“The duty of the chief minister is heavy, as it involves economic growth, foreign investments inflow and the welfare of the people,” Ang said at a press conference, here, today.
On Dec 6, the court set 34 days from March 27, 2017, for the corruption trial of Lim and Phang over the purchase of a bungalow by Lim from Phang at below market value.
Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail said the hearing dates set by the court could not be changed as these dates were agreed to by the prosecution and defence teams.
The hearings are on March 27-31, April 10-14, April 24-28, May 15-19, May 29-June 2, June 13-16 and July 17-21, next year. – BERNAMA
GEORGE TOWN – The Penang DAP government today tabled Budget 2017 amounting to RM1.45 billion with a deficit of RM667.1 million compared to RM292.13 million deficit for Budget 2016.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the deficit budget was due to the transfer of RM790 million from the Consolidated Revenue Account to the Development Fund to finance development projects costing RM887.44 million.
“The deficit of RM667.1 million will be covered by the state reserves,” he said when tabling the Supply Bill 2017 in the Penang State Assembly, here today.
Lim said since the state’s expected revenue for 2017 did not increase, the state government did not have the option of equaling the estimates in 2016.
“The implementation of development projects, the provision of loans to state statutory bodies to spur the state’s economic transformation for the wellbeing of the people, have resulted in a deficit budget for 2017.”
The lion’s share of the budget was for the Chief Minister’s Office and the State Secretary’s Office, which received RM707.61 million compared to RM161.59 million in 2016.
Lim said the big increase was due to the increase in the provision of facilities such as loans, from RM100 million in 2016 to RM639 million in 2017.
Some RM57.57 million was allocated for roads of which RM47.93 million was for widening of Jalan Bukit Minyak-Alma, widening of industry road to Jalan Tok Kangar, building a bridge over Sungai Kerian, RM7.64 million for maintenance of state roads and RM2 million for maintenance of rural roads.
Budget 2017 offers tax break for 2016 to all residents of low cost, medium low cost and kampung house and discount of six per cent assessment tax to other properties including commercial.
Lim also announced a half month bonus or a minimum of RM700 for state civil servants next month (Dec) and another one quarter salary to those who did not take sick leave for more four days until Nov 2016.
The half month bonus payment to 4,178 state civil servants involves an allocation of RM4.19 million.
A RM300 bonus would be given to KAFA supervisors and teachers, SAR (Islamic) school teachers and teachers and staff of private Chinese schoools and RM200 to tahfiz teachers, pondok school teachers and Islamic kindergarten teachers.
Meanwnhile, Lee Khai Loon (DAP-Machang Bubuk) has urged the state government to build retention ponds in the constituency to prevent flash floods.
“I hope the state government can address the flash floods. Rainfall in nearby Kulim will cause flash floods,” he told the state assembly.
State Exco for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation, Chow Kon Yeow said the state government was concerned about the flash floods.
“If the proposed retention ponds can prevent flash flooods, then I will make preparation towards that,” he said in reply to the suggestion by Lee.
State Exco for Town & Country Planning and Housing, Jagdeep Singh Deo said the government did not plan to enact a law to limit companies and foreigners from buying properties within George Town World Heritage Site.
However, the state government was studying the possibility of establishing a Rent Regulation Enactment within George Town World Heritage Site.
Sitting continues on Thursday. – BERNAMA
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